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Last year, Oak Harbor's eight state qualifiers earned the moniker The Hateful Eight.
The Rockets weren't quite able to get that many wrestlers down to Columbus, but seven did advance out of districts as all advanced to the finals. As a whole, 10 wrestlers won at least one match to help lead Oak Harbor to a Division III district championship, its first in six years.
The Rockets finished first with 190.5 points, followed by Edison (161), Genoa (137), Swanton (86) and Elmwood (82.5) in a field that featured wrestlers from 53 teams.
Named in honor of another movie that recently came out, The Magnificent Seven, four wrestlers -- Trevor Scherf, Jake Huston, Kian Thompson and Dylan Thorp -- won titles while the other three – Cam Dickman, Bruce Hrynciw and Dylan Mansor -- finished second.
Jake Sage and Garrett Mapes just missed out on advancing and finished fifth and sixth, respectively, and Jensen finished 1-2.
"All 10 wrestlers won a match, that helped with the scoring, and nine of placed. I was extremely happy with how we did," said Oak Harbor coach George Bergman. "We went 9-1 in the first round, 7-2 in the second round and in the semis, we were 7-0, and that never happens.
And we were 4-3 in the finals.
"They all competed extremely hard. I think the law of averages, you're going to get someone who makes a mistake or has some adversity in his match, (but) our guys were rock solid in their matches," said Bergman. "Good things happen when you're on the offense."
Scherf led a magnificent group of seniors, winning his weight class at 132 pounds. He won his first two matches convincingly and then defeated Archbold's Gavin Grime, 3-1, in the semifinals before eking out a win over Rossford's Tanner Krotzer, 3-2, to win the title and improve to 132. Like Scherf, Huston (152), won his first two matches convincingly before defeating St. Mary Central Catholic's Jake Near, 5-3, in the semifinals and then took care of Hugo Villarreal, 11-5, in the finals. Huston is now 41-4 on the season.
Thompson (182), won his first two matches easily before winning by injury default (4:05) over Delta's Dylan Rogers and defeated Gibsonburg's Madison Jaso, 5-2, in the finals. Dylan Thorp (220), who has lost just two matches all year, pinned all four of his opponents in a combined 3:52.
Dickman (113), the only qualifier of the group who's not a senior, won his first three matches rather easily before falling in the finals to Genoa's Dylan D'Emilio in the finals by fall (5:12). Hrynciw (120), a four-time SBC champion, won his first two matches by fall and dominated Swanton's Dominic Rosin to win by technical fall, 17-2, in the semifinals before losing in the finals to the reigning state champion, Delta's Drew Mattin, a University of Michigan commit, by fall in 4:46. Mansor (145) nearly won the title, scoring a late point to tie the score at six, sending it into overtime, but St. Paul's Derek Gross, who is undefeated at 51-0, executed a one-leg takedown to win by sudden victory, 8-6.
All six seniors qualified for the state tournament last year and are looking to improve upon a fourth-place finish.
"This senior class has paid the price and they put in the time. (The last time) we had a senior-laden team was with Ian Miller and Konnor Witt -- it's difficult to do with underclassmen. Most of the time when you do something so well, you do it with junior and senior classes."
Sage (195) won his first match, lost his second, won his next two, defeating Genoa's Gabe Scott, 7-3, and Eastwood's Zane Zientek, 4-2, and then lost to Elmwood's Dylan Hinton, who is 45-4, by fall in 3:46. Sage won his last match, defeating Tiffin Calvert's Joe Shirley by injury default in 3:29. Mapes (160) fell just short of advancing to the semifinals and came in sixth. He won his first match by sudden victory, 7-5, over Defiance Tinora's Juan Castillo and then lost by sudden victory to Tiffin Calvert's Connor Kwiat, 8-6. Mapes rebounded to defeat Delta's J.D. Osborn, 8-4, and Gibsonburg's Brady Jaso, 4-0. Mapes missed out on a chance to get to Columbus, losing to Edgerton's Jonah Brown by fall (3:22). Mapes then lost to Mohawk's Parker Brown by fall (2:18). Jensen (120) lost his first match, won his second and then lost to fall one match short of reaching the podium.
"Jake Sage, being a sophomore and (competing) at an upper weight, he beat an Eastwood opponent who defeated him last week. I think he went 4-2 and was 1-1 in the championship bracket and won a couple and then lost in the match to go to state (but) came back and took fifth. As a sophomore at an upper weight, to go 4-2 against juniors and seniors is difficult to do. And to beat somebody that beat you the week before, I was extremely pleased," said Bergman. "I thought was a big step and showed some mental toughness on his part. If somebody ends up with an injury or doesn't make weight, he would have an opportunity (to compete in Columbus). It's happened before."
The Rockets will compete in Columbus at the Schottenstein Center on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the state tournament with a chance to make some noise.
"The cliché is you take it one match at a time. If you're concerned about somebody that you might meet in the semis, there might be only one match in the championship bracket (for you)," said Bergman. "When they blow the whistle, you've got to be ready mentally and physically. Doing well on Thursday is paramount."